Tidal power, why not?

Discussion in 'science, nature and environment' started by Bahnhof Strasse, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    Britain is an island, surrounded by seas that go up and down all day long, quite literally as regular as clockwork. Generators just need something to turn them, the rising and falling seas can do that. So why are we not doing it?

    There was a fairly large scheme mooted for the Severn, was scrapped cos birds, apparently. The scheme would have taken an acre or two of the Severn shore, birds would cope. So what was really behind that?

    Why do we not have small tidal power stations every mile or so dotted around the coast? The sea moving millions of gallons of water twice a day (4 times in the Solent, still don’t know why), is a shit-load of energy that can be converted for our use, so why isn’t it happening?
    Saunders and kabbes like this.
  2. stolinski

    stolinski new but not new

    there is some stuff afoot up in orkney but actually i agree with you, it is madness that there aren't more tidal schemes. i don't think the severn barrage idea is totally dead in the water [boom BOOM] but there does seem to be no political will for it...
  3. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    The Severn is certainly an area of interest for tidal power. I don't know why the proposals there fell through though.
  4. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    farmerbarleymow likes this.
  5. pug

    pug Well-Known Member

    Tidal mills have been around for a long long time Tide mill - Wikipedia
    It's surprising that more hasn't been made of tidal electricity generation bearing in mind how predictable and reliable it is.
  6. Riklet

    Riklet procrastinación

    There are obvs environmental issues to tidal generators all over the place.

    Best idea apparently for Severn barrage is tidal barrage to generate 24/7 electricity for heavy hydrogen (deuterium) nuclear reactor. That would be best of both worlds according to a guy I know who worked in the energy/nuclear industry for decades. Just one plant would produce loads of energy. We get more like half our electricity from nuclear power in France currently in the south west already, btw all this '50% renewables' is bullshit.

    This was all possible in the 70s but yknow. Tories etc. Lack of interest in proper investment and general British government lack of ambition. It wouldnt be cheap but how is any kind of green transition possible without a shit load of energy.
    NoXion likes this.
  7. petee

    petee i'm spartacus

  8. JimW

    JimW 支那暗杀团

    Argonia likes this.
  9. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    I’ve always wondered this too. I look at the amount the massive sea gets shifted every day and marvel at the amount of power it took to achieve that. Plus you can literally set your clock by it. Would micro-installations every mile not be able to basically generate everything we need?
    Bahnhof Strasse likes this.
  10. stavros

    stavros Well-Known Member

    I believe the Severn proposal had some questionable economics behind it, based on projected electricity prices. I think the boss of the development company might've been a bit suspect too, although I'd welcome any corrections on either of those points.
  11. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    This was invented back in the 70s but various funding fuck ups meant it never really happened.

    Salter's duck - Wikipedia
    Pickman's model likes this.
  12. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    From what little I know, the outputs from most attempted tidal power projects have been a bit disappointing.

    Plus there’s also the fact that drawing too much power from the tides will cause the moon to crash into the earth and kill us all.

    <though that could take a wee bit>
  13. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit.

    I suppose part of the problem is the amount of energy involved. I would think it would be tough to build anything small-scale that wouldn't simply get smashed to bits by the sea in short order.
  14. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    Smaller prototype - less energy involved - I’m not convinced it’s necessarily a problem.
  15. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    The sea is a harsh environment. Very unforgiving of machinery.
    NoXion likes this.
  16. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    We had Salter's Duck in the 80s - I remember my pop kid science books talking about it as the future - but "mysteriously" the Tories spiked it after "accidentally" estimating the cost as far higher than it actually was.

    Salter's duck - Wikipedia
    Pickman's model and Almor like this.
  17. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    I think that was the thing that had the disappointing output, but maybe that was in the context of overestimated costs as you say.
  18. nogojones

    nogojones Well-Known Member

    They've been banging on about a Swansea Tidal Lagoon for years Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay - Wikipedia but it looks like the Tories gave it a fuck off tablet last year.

    I saw it as an additional way of keeping people from Swansea in Swansea. All for the common good.
    Pickman's model and 8ball like this.
  19. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    A lot of it has to do with how renewables infrastructure is funded in the UK and until the system gets changed, windpower remains the most developed and attractive prospect to investors with the shortest time to pure profits or the operators/penalty avoidance for the investors compared to other technologies.

    Have a look at countries where the renewables strategies prioritise diversity of supply - eg Australia and IIRC Norway where you should find tidal power has a much better profile.
  20. mx wcfc

    mx wcfc Well-Known Member

    Got to agree. I did a bit of work around the Swansea Bay Tidal project. It was all about investors returns, rather than stopping climate change, or green energy (not my work, just the shit things came up against) .

    I'm no expert, but the tidal bay stuff can feck up the local ecology, Just saying, like.

    But as said above, there have been tidal mills for donkeys years are there are still a couple on the Solent.
    Pickman's model and pogofish like this.
  21. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad heckling from the back!

    I agree, theoretically, tidal power should be exploited, but ...

    Part of the problem with trying to use the tides is that they are not the same every time ...
    neither chronologically nor in the range / amount of depth - although they can be predicted quite well, weather conditions can affect those heights (storm surge caused flooding).

    The Severn has a tidal range second only to the Bay of Fundy, which is why several attempts have been designed (barrages, tidal turbines ...) There was a scheme in France that has variable blade turbines, for which they needed a computer to calculate the optimum settings.

    Not only that, but you have to contend with wave and storm damage from the coastal location ...
  22. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of the whole of Wales, potentially. The cost is the loss of wetlands, salt marshes, huge intertidal areas with loads of life living in it and loads of different species of migrating birds that feed there. Do we lose any unique habitat and unique biodiversity by building it? Probably, yes. It would create environments for other life, mind you.

    On balance, I'm probably for it, but it doesn't come without an ecological cost.
    UnderAnOpenSky and mx wcfc like this.
  23. paul mckenna

    paul mckenna New Member

    They needed a computer?!
  24. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Seagull + Chips = Happy Seagull

    Probably a good thing overall tbh. Reduce the population a bit at any rate.
  25. stolinski

    stolinski new but not new

  26. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    No weather forecast that day.
  27. WouldBe

    WouldBe non smoking

    You could have lots of micro hydro plants. They would run 24/7. :)

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